This weekend cities all over the country will erupt in shades of green to celebrate St Patrick's Day, and with the Six Nations game on the Saturday, what better excuse to get down to your local and say cheers to a pint of Guinness (or three)?
And although drinking the black stuff undoubtedly play its part in the day's celebrations (as many as 13 million pints of Guinness are expected to be poured on St Patrick's Day), food is also an important feature as families feast on traditional Irish fare like soda bread, Irish stews and colcannon. No corned beef and cabbage, though – this 'tradition' was invented by the Irish immigrants living in America, as is the rather unappetising sounding 'green beer' served across the pond.
So in the spirit of St Patrick, we've gathered together a few of our favourite recipes from the best chefs and cookery writers from the Emerald Isle to form a fantastic authentic feast of Irish flavours.
Start with freshly poached sea mullet with Darina Allen's homemade soda bread for mopping up the juices, before tucking into beef and Guinness pies with chocolate or a perfectly roasted saddle of lamb – heaps of colcannon mash are obligatory. Round off the meal with a gloriously indulgent salted caramel whisky bread and butter pudding, and perhaps a tot of Irish whisky on the side. Sláinte mhaith!